This month marks the 25th anniversary of National Geographic’s epic space film, Moon. Lesser-known is the creation of its follow-up, Welcome to Earth, a six-part series chronicling the birth of the modern air travel industry as seen through the lens of JetBlue founder David Neeleman and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways. Executive produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and produced by Mark Gordon (Captain Phillips, The Hurricane), the series premieres Sunday, June 16 on the National Geographic Channel at 9 p.m. ET/PT. On the eve of its debut, the Smiths sat down with Digital Trends at a rooftop hotel bar in Manhattan to talk about making the show, what it’s like to be on the cover of the June/July issue of National Geographic, and the much-beloved “welcome to Earth” poster that accompanies the series.
The teaser trailer, which debuted on June 5, sets up Welcome to Earth to be an intense real-time exploration of this seminal moment in world history, with Smith as Neeleman and Pinkett Smith as Pinkett Smith, hanging out with experts, historians, and astronauts as they walk the edge of the “sci-fi world.” It also showcases breathtaking shots of New York City in the early 1970s and captures what National Geographic calls the “intricate process of transporting passengers and cargo across the Pacific from America to China.”
But the most telling moment in the trailer and trailer is when a very upset Smith complains about commercial airline service to his co-star in the car chase scene, and then adds that he thinks they’re the “most dangerous thing on the planet.”
He says: “What’s being said to people is, ‘Hey, come check it out.’ How old are you for that?”
Pinkett Smith adds, “Can’t you see the planes flying in front of you?”
“None of these jets fly over the ground,” Smith exclaims. “The smell. The smell of the oil. The fumes.”
“Exactly!” she exclaims.
Welcome to Earth premieres on June 16 on National Geographic.
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